Fiction I can read to a 5 yr old?
November 26, 2007 6:22 AM   Subscribe

I like reading to my 5yr old son at bedtime. We have discovered that we both enjoy reading longer books/ novels with many chapters and some pictures here and there. Our latest was the original "The House at Pooh Corner". Please suggest more!
posted by ohdeanna to Grab Bag (45 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Roald Dahl - The BFG, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, many others.

Mordecai Richler - the Jacob Two Two series.

Pierre Berton - The Secret World of Og
posted by valleys at 6:30 AM on November 26, 2007

Oh, and the Mr Gum books are totally hilarious. They aren't as long as you might think (lots of empty space on each page) but each chapter has several parts where I have to take a short break because my daughter and I are laughing so hard.
posted by valleys at 6:34 AM on November 26, 2007

How about Alice In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass?
posted by ShawnString at 6:37 AM on November 26, 2007

My son loves reading Ms. Pigglewiggle’s Magic. I’d never heard of those books but my wife kept them from when she was a kid.

We’ve also read Charlotte’s Web and Stewart Little.
posted by bondcliff at 6:40 AM on November 26, 2007

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
posted by pineapple at 6:40 AM on November 26, 2007

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a tremendous book. I can't recommend it highly enough. Its the sort of book your child will enjoy as a "read to" at five, as a self-reader at 10 and from a whole new perspective at 15.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:45 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stig of the Dump
The Borrowers
Five Children and It
(and for when he's a little older maybe) Tom's Midnight Garden

posted by ceri richard at 6:45 AM on November 26, 2007

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. My 6-year old and I just got done reading it. My 4 year old also enjoyed it. It's now our favorite book and we'll be giving copies for Christmas presents this year. There are some parts that may be a little difficult for little ears and sensitive souls. You may want to skim a chapter ahead to see what's coming up and what may/may not be appropriate for your child. My 6 yr old had no problems with it, but ya never know.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:47 AM on November 26, 2007

The Cricket in Times Square, the Little House books, lots of stuff by Avi. My 7 year old just enjoyed listening to the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, your 5 year old might too!
posted by Biblio at 6:53 AM on November 26, 2007

The best IMHO is Charlotte's Web. Written to be read aloud.
Also good for younger children the books of Edward Eager,
Half Magic, Magic or Not and 5 others.

The D'Aulaire's Greek and Norse Myth collections are fun to read and very well illustrated.

My son liked Morpurgo's books - The Green Knight, Arthur High King of Britain and I see he has a Beowulf title now as well. I remember reading him versions of the Illiad and Odyssey that were well illustrated - can't remember the author. Definetly worth checking the library for.

All my kids really fell for the Redwall books read aloud. These are more for a 6 or 7 year old. There are battles between mice and rats and sparrows and scary snakes, lots of cliffhangers. These books made kids want to get into bed early and they would beg for an extra chapter.

And I can't speak highly enough of Cornelia Funke, especially The Thief Lord and the Inkheart series. I'm not an adult who typically reads children's books (Harry Potter, blecchhh) but these books made me want to read ahead while kids were asleep.
posted by readery at 6:53 AM on November 26, 2007

Ender's Game -- no pics, but lotsa chapters, and the protagonist is a 6yo boy.
posted by LordSludge at 6:54 AM on November 26, 2007

Does it have to be pure fiction? My daughter went through a phase where she loved long books too, and one day we accidentally hit upon a book about Seaman, the dog that accompanied Lewis & Clark on their expedition. She was enthralled. What's not to like: a big fluffy dog, nature, Indians, exploration, the wilderness, building your own canoes, fishing/hunting?

A search of Amazon shows many many books about Seaman. I liked the Seaman book we read, because it was a longer book, written for an older reader (or an adult). It had a few pictures, drawings, maps and diagrams, but it was mostly text. I can't remember the exact title though (and ours is long packed away). It was fairly easy to read a manageable chunk each night, and was a good adventure story.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:58 AM on November 26, 2007

The Wind in the Willows, was a favorite of mine as a child and I think it qualifies in the longer books category.
posted by nola at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2007

The Secret Garden
posted by beagle at 7:01 AM on November 26, 2007

At his age, I really enjoyed A Thousand Paper Cranes.

It's non-fiction and relatively short, but the message is basic and valuable. The story is about a girl, but I doubt that would be of much significance to your son.

All in all, it's not exactly what you're looking for, but I suggest it because it was one of my first novels.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:06 AM on November 26, 2007

My five-year-old son loves the Dragon Slayers' Academy books.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:08 AM on November 26, 2007

I just bought a copy of Wind in the Willows, and it's both long and has pictures. It's pretty classic I'd say.
posted by chunking express at 7:12 AM on November 26, 2007

2nding Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. My kid loves that book. She also really enjoyed Mr. Popper's Penguins and the Magic Tree House series.
posted by hoppytoad at 7:17 AM on November 26, 2007

I'll echo almost all of the suggestinos above (Alice, Borrowers, NIMH -- though that could be a bit dark, everything by Roald Dahl, etc).

Also.. if you can find it, get Bogwoppit, by Ursula Williams. One of my absolute favourite books as a kid.

And bear in mind.. as Terry Pratchett said, if you don't tell kids that something is too hard for them, they'll never think it is..
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:20 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am not to sure what to suggest for this age to be honest, but in a few years i suggest the following...

2nding the Phantom Toll Booth and The Cricket in Times Square.

The Earth Sea trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin

The Xanth series by Piers Anthoney. The Xanth series uses the same humor/pun style as the Phantom Toll Booth.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:36 AM on November 26, 2007

As for Alice in Wonderland and especially through the looking glass, I read those at a much older age.

They are completely saturated with drug references (blatant) and many things I would not suggest for a young child.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2007

When my kids were five, we read the Moomin books for the first time and I can never recommend them highly enough. My 16 year old son is still rereading them occasionally - as is his 40 something mother. We also read our way though all the Oz books at age five, which gets kind of old for the parent (except for the part where you start to really, you know, wonder about L. Frank Baum and his obsession with tiny decorative details in the form of ornaments) but for whatever reason, my kids at that age were enthralled. Series books are really nice for fives and sixes, because kids love the continuity of the characters.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:53 AM on November 26, 2007

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder is notable for its insanely decadent food descriptions...

The Great Brain books are perhaps a bit short, but hugely entertaining nonetheless...

The original 101 Dalmatians by Dottie Smith is a pleasure...

as is anything by Beverly Cleary.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2007

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Particulary, this edition, which has all of Tolkien's illustrations.

The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin.

My kids will definitely have those read to them in a few years (oldest is 2.5).
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:28 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Redwall by Brian Jacques.

It's been a while... I don't think there are any full page illustrations, but the hardcover does appear to have small ones as the chapter headings. I don't recall how much variety in those.
posted by pokermonk at 8:30 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. A very fun story with some beautiful illustrations.
posted by Bromius at 8:35 AM on November 26, 2007

13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. I just discovered this book as a 30 year old and all my friends are getting copies this Christmas. Great stories and illustrations.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:35 AM on November 26, 2007

don't let black_umbrella's comment above dissuade you from reading to your child the greatest children's literature ever written.

as a young child, i greatly enjoyed the (non-fiction) books of j. frank dobie, voice of the coyote, the longhorns, the mustangs, etc., the people, animals and stories of the old west.
posted by bruce at 8:37 AM on November 26, 2007

The Paddington Bear books
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books
The Pippi Longstocking books
The Mary Poppins books
Poppy/Poppy and Rye/Ereth by Avi (start with Poppy, they're basically a series)
Laura Ingalls Wilder books (Little House in the Big Woods/On the Prairie/etc.)

I was a (super, super precocious) self-reader by your son's age, and these were my favorite books starting out. Depending on how much of a rambunctious little guy he is some of them might not have enough Saturday-Morning-Cartoons style 'action' to them, but considering he enjoyed classic Pooh, I think you will be all set. The advantage to many of these is that each chapter functions as a separate story, though there is still continuity throughout the volume (of characters, etc.) This means that he won't have to remember an intricate plot every time you pick the book back up, and one story will be satisfying instead of keeping him awake thinking about how the cliff-hanger will resolve.

My mom also often would read these books and others like them on car rides from the passenger's seat to us kids in the back.
posted by rhoticity at 8:39 AM on November 26, 2007

Peter Pan
posted by cda at 8:44 AM on November 26, 2007

Great thread.

Captain Underpants
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:01 AM on November 26, 2007

I was going to mention The Chronicles of Prydain series, and Time Cat, all by Lloyd Alexander because I remembered them as illustrated. However, it appears that my imagination as a child provided mental pictures I remembered as illustrations.

Very good books, nonetheless.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:04 AM on November 26, 2007

My father read most of the stuff to me between 4-12. What I remember as the most impressive was 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Tarzan and the Return of Tarzan.

I still read Kidnapped and Treasure Island every few years - R.L. Stevenson is perhaps the best author for young persons of all time, all due respect to Mr. Milne.

Also consider Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe as you begin to exhaust the list.
posted by ewkpates at 10:27 AM on November 26, 2007

not quite child oriented, but then my son was pretty advanced for his age. he really liked it when I read Herriot's "All Creatures Great & Small." Lots of simple stories, in a nice encapsulated format. You might want to edit out some of the drinking parts, but a lot of the stories are suprisingly wholesome for kids.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 10:33 AM on November 26, 2007

The Boxcar Children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner
posted by cj at 10:45 AM on November 26, 2007

Nthing The Cricket in Times Square, Mr Popper's Penguins, The Phantom Tollbooth, Beverly Cleary books and The Boxcar Children.

I also need to mention what was probably my favorite book as a child - The Twenty-One Balloons.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2007

My older son was a Boxcar Children junkie. Also look at Magic Treehouse and Henry Huggins books.
posted by Doohickie at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2007

My dad was the bedtime story reader, so I got what he liked: RL Stevenson, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, JRR Tolkien, Rudyard Kipling, "Gulliver's Travels," prose versions of The Iliad and Odyssey, and Bible stories. Yeah, they are challenging for ages 5-9, but I could follow the stories and looked forward to each new chapter even if the literary themes went over my head. And the fact that he enjoyed the stories too made it all the more special.
posted by weebil at 11:54 AM on November 26, 2007

The Enormous Egg

It's about a boy who finds an egg in his chicken house that's a little too large. A dinosaur hatches out of it. It was one of my favorite books to read when I was little.
posted by chiababe at 12:57 PM on November 26, 2007

the Mrs Pepperpot books are good too
posted by singingfish at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2007

I don't know about Ender's Game/anything by Orson Scott Card. It is about soldiers, and I would read it myself before I started it with a five year old.
posted by jacalata at 6:40 PM on November 26, 2007

Seconding these:

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If he get's too girled-out you can skip right to "Farmer Boy", which has an 8 year old boy as the main character.

My friend is reading his 7 & 4 year old kids Terry Pratchett's Diskworld series (fantasy). They're several books into it and are digging it.

The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
posted by lisaici at 7:49 PM on November 26, 2007

Seconding the Hobbit. I read that to my son over a few weeks' time when he was 5 (a few years before the LOTR movies), and he loved it.

A Wrinkle in Time was also great (we read that when he was 8 or so).

Ender's Game may have a 6-year-old protagonist, but the character of Ender is far, far more intelligent than any 6-y-o in reality. It's more like a 6-y-o (and other kids) in an adult space-military setting. I myself had trouble following the political side-story that Ender's siblings were engaged in.

Watership Down is also a great one: not too complex, very adventurous, engaging and fun to read.
posted by not_on_display at 8:19 AM on November 27, 2007

I remember crying and crying at the end of Watership Down, and I was more like 10 when I read it. It's got some very scary scenes, too. (My five-year-old hates anything scary -- including some scenes in Dora the Explorer -- but maybe other kids his age don't mind it as much.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:31 PM on November 27, 2007

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